Assert Leadership in Your Pack of Dogs

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Eng, Lynn, Anonymous and 3 others

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Having a pack of dogs is not a party. Only a few people succeed in such a demanding endeavor. Many people have dogs because they love dogs. A dog lover is different from a pack leader. Dog lovers live to give love and care to the dogs they have, and to any dog they meet. On the other hand, pack leaders earn the respect of the dogs that they have and any dog that they meet. It's okay to be a dog lover because you need to love dogs to understand them. If you understand them, you earn their trust. If you earn their trust, they look up to you as their pack leader. When you have a pack of dogs under your wing, you gain a more intimate form of camaraderie, loyalty, and love that cannot be broken.

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As you know, the first pack leader in any litter is the mother dog. The mother dog controls when the puppies play, how far they have to walk, where they should stay, or when they should eat or drink. This kind of discipline is hot-wired into your dog's brain until adulthood. All dogs have that pack mentality. They long for the kind of discipline that their first pack leader has given them. Now that they are in your care, it's your turn to be their pack leader.

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How can you become the leader of your pack?

There is a pack leader in each person.

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You don't have to have 20 dogs to have a pack. Even if you only have one dog, the two of you are already considered a pack in your dog's eyes. It's just a question of who is supposed to be the pack leader. Of course, you should assume the role of the leader. You have to be the one to set the limitations, boundaries, and rules. Below are some of the basic things that you have to remember in becoming the leader of your pack:

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  1. 1
    Do not be nervous or emotional.
    In the wild, a pack leader is confident and assertive, yet calm in handling situations. Having these qualities will help your dog interact better with the surrounding environment. You have to be quiet in enforcing your rules. It's more on action and not sounds or words.
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  2. 2
    Let your dog(s) know that you own the house.
    You should make sure that you assert your authority in your home. Confidently and calmly communicate to your dog(s) that it is your territory. Don't break eye contact, and maintain relaxed body language in doing so. If your dog(s) understand that they are in your territory, they will always respect you. Then, it will be easier for you to win their cooperation during training.
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  3. 3
    Teach your dog(s) to wait.
    This is an effective way of asserting your position as the leader. When they were just puppies, their mothers made them wait whenever they wanted to eat. In the wild, an adult pack member waits for the leader before they go from point A to point B. Waiting is a form of exercise for your dog's mind. They may not hunt for food but through waiting, they work for their food.
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  4. 4
    Make your dog(s) work.
    This means that you have to teach your dog(s) how to work hard for any type of reward that you give them such as food or water. Make sure that your dog(s) are submissive and calm before you give them any form of affection. This will teach them that they will only receive affection if they are calm and submissive. You can achieve this by exercising your dog first before any reward is given.
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  5. 5
    You should know your pack.
    A leader knows what fulfills every member of the pack's needs. In training, you should know what motivates your dog(s) (food, play, touch). Doing so will allow them to cooperate better during training. They also respect you more if you know them well. The bond that you share becomes stronger when you know your dog(s) well.
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Qualities of a genuine pack leader

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As a genuine leader of your pack, you should exhibit the following qualities, be:

  1. 1
    Approachable.
    You should be approachable. Your dog(s) should not fear you. They should respect you. You can help them respect you by letting them know that they come close to you.
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  2. 2
    Honest.
    As a leader, let your dog(s) know if you do not accept the behavior. If you accept the behavior, reward your dog(s). If you don't, repeat the situation and correct your dog properly by tugging on the leash or making a disciplinary sound.
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  3. 3
    Accepting.
    You accept your dog, whatever the breed or former home. You also welcome any disabilities or instabilities with the goal of making your dog(s) stable and submissive.
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  4. 4
    Balanced.
    A leader of the pack should not be overly stressed, nervous, or fearful. You should always be calm and relaxed. It is also best to practice patience.
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  5. 5
    Present.
    You should always be there for your pack. This will let your dog(s) know that you will always protect and guide them.
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  6. 6
    Respectful.
    A pack leader respects a pack member's space and behavior. Be aware of the different signals that dogs give out so that they will know you understand them.
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  7. 7
    Knows the pack well.
    Exert effort in determining your pack's behavior. You can do this by spending time with your pack every single day.
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Tips

  • Spend time with your dog(s).
  • Do not hurt or shout at your dogs to gain their respect. They do not respond to anger.
  • Use less talking when asserting your leadership.
  • Know basic dog body language to help you communicate with them better.

Questions and Answers

How do you assert leadership qualities?

You can use the following tips to be the pack leader of your dog/s:

  • Think like a dog

learn why they do certain behaviors and learn how certain actions perceive as a weakness to them

  • learn how being a pack leader works

all dogs have a pack mentality. They will try to be one if you will not enforce yourself to be the pack leader. Remember that they will be happier to know their place in a pack and pack members (your dogs) will follow what the pack leader (you) will tell them to do.

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  • be calm and confident when dealing with your dog

The key to dealing with your dog is not action but using the voice. When doing these keep in mind to use:

use firm tones
no high-pitched voice
no cutesy voice either
no angry voice
no question tone


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  • use a choke chain properly

This should hang loose around your pet's neck. This is used for correction. Walk beside them but make sure you are slightly in front rather than beside or behind.

  • walk your pet

Best for good exercise and socializing with other dogs. The way you walk your dog will enforce leadership (Chest out, head up, shoulders back). Make sure the walking time depends on the dog's breed.

Assert leadership through body language?

Always make sure you stay in front of your dogs. Also, stand straight and avoid being hesitant in your movements, such as stooping down or stopping from time to time. You need to be rather strict with your dogs too, such as not tolerating certain behaviors that are not good. If you do, it will give them the impression that you are not really in charge of them.

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Article Info

Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Rob, Laurel Waddell, Anonymous

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